Destructive and deadly aftershock – earthquake – tsunami in Japan (Part 3)

Last update: March 13, 2011 at 1:58 am by By

This is part 3 of our ongoing story on the massive 8.9 earthquake / tsunami which struck Japan on March 11 2011.
Click here for part one
.   Click here for part two.

Nuclear Power plant in earthquake area - image courtesy poorrichards-blog.blogspot.com

UPDATE 01:58 UTC : Japanese foreign ministry listed the 49 countries extending offers of relief, in no particular order: Australia, Taiwan, the United States, South Korea, China, Mexico, Thailand, New Zealand, Israel, Singapore, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, India, Russia, Turkey, Germany, France, Belgium, Ukraine, Slovakia, United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, Jordan, the United Kingdom, Chile, Spain, Greece, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Denmark, Serbia, Uruguay, Mongolia, Ecuador, Iran, Kyrgyz Republic, Malaysia, Argentine, Philippines, Canada, Italy, Sweden, Kosovo, Iceland, Norway, Romania, and Slovenia.

UPDATE 01:53 UTC : Tsunami surges wreaked havoc at three Hawaii small-boat harbors yesterday, damaging about 200 boats and causing an estimated $500,000 in damage at one harbor alone.

UPDATE 01:35 UTC : Mexico reported waves up to 70 centimetres above normal but no damage or victims.

UPDATE 01:30 UTC : Based on scattered reports from different not earlier mentioned villages and small towns, the death toll will probably climb to several thousand.

UPDATE 01:20 UTC : According to TEPCO, 31 million households were still without electricity in the Kanto region .

UPDATE 01:14 UTC : The famous Japanese high speed bullet train is operating almost as usual, only slowing down a little in some parts of the country. Tokyo metropolitan transport is also regaining normal operations.

UPDATE 01:03 UTC : In Ecuador, president Rafael Correa reported “minimum damage” from the tsunami and no casualties. On the Galapagos Islands, the coastal city of San Cristobal was flooded by the surging water from the Pacific.

UPDATE 01:01 UTC : In the town of Pueblo Nuevo de Colan, Piura, Peru, the ocean withdrew 200 meters from the beach before returning with force and destroying several seaside homes.
In the port of Pisco the ocean surged into the town square and damaged about 300 houses.

UPDATE 00:53 UTC : Chalets on Chile™s coast were damaged and some small boats were swept away when the tsunamis intensified. Damage was however limited.

UPDATE 00:52 UTC : The tsunami generated swells but no major waves on Chile™s remote Easter Island in the South Pacific .

UPDATE 00:46 UTC : The main reason why tsunami wave heights are difficult to predict is that they are amplified by an irregular shoreline. 2 coastal locations close to each other may have totally different tsunamis.

UPDATE 00:34 UTC : The Japanese government did rate the accident at the Fukushima power plant at level 4 on an international scale of 0 to 7.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said that fuel in the reactor partially melted. It’s the first such accident in Japan.  A level 4 on the International Nuclear and Radiologocal Event Scale includes damage to fuel and release of significant quantities of radioactive material within an installation.
It’s the same level as a criticality accident at a nuclear fuel processing plant in Tokai Village in Ibaraki Prefecture, south of Fukushima, in 1999. The agency called the accident very regrettable even though it was triggered by an earthquake.

UPDATE 00:30 UTC : A South Korean SAR (Search and Rescue team) has arrived in Hameda earlier today.

UPDATE 13/03 – 00:20 UTC : We have still 2 people in Japan who did send us a HELP ME message on our QuakeSOS iPhone application.
Mr. Mazool Deen
and Mr. Cesar Oshiro
All other HELP ME signals have been proved to be safe.

UPDATE 23:15 UTC : May we ask our QuakeSOS iPhone application users to NOT PLAY with the HELP ME button anymore. In order to test the system, we have created the Test buttons.

UPDATE 23:08 UTC : Today alone (March 12 UTC), 6 aftershocks greater tha M. 6.0 have been recorded.

M 6.3  2011/03/12 22:12     Depth 14.3  NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
March 13, 2011 at 07:12:46 AM at epicenter
Very shallow but very strong seaquake / aftershock at 115 km (71 miles) NE (54°) from Iwaki, Honshu, Japan
Satellite map of the epicenter area

UPDATE 22:40 UTC : Tsunami waves did strike the beaches of the western United States, Middle and South America, leaving at least 1 missing.
NOAA, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says a tsunami measuring over 2.4 meters high was recorded on northern California nearly 11 hours after the quake.
The tsunami off the US west coast swept away 7 people.
Six were rescued, but one man is missing. Boats, fisherman ships and ports in California were severely damaged.
Jerry Brown has declared the state of emergency in parts of the state.
A tsunami wave of more than 1 meter reached the Pacific side of Mexico.
In Chile, an 85-centimeter tsunami was registered at the northern port city of Caldera, almost a day after Friday’s massive jolt.

UPDATE 20:27 UTC :
The Japanese PM has stated that 3000 people have been rescued so far.

UPDATE 20:15 UTC :
TBS has the following count: with 990 people dead so far, and the total has climbed to more than 1,700 missing persons. This does not include Minami Sanriku.

The FDMA has confirmed 389 deaths, 627 missing and 1928 injured. However, this does not include the following:-

Around 9,500 people are unaccounted for in the Japanese port town of Minamisanriku in quake-hit Miyagi prefecture, public broadcaster NHK said.

NHK says the 9,500 missing people make up more than half of the population of roughly 17,000 in the town on the Pacific coast.

Authorities have so far confirmed that around 7,500 people in the town were evacuated to 25 shelters after Friday’s quake, but they have been unable to contact the other 10,000.

Currently, the FDMA has confirmed the following damage.
property damage (2,229 houses destroyed, 1,016 partially destroyed houses, 15,125 houses partially damaged)
In addition, the following: Fukushima â‘ : Iwaki City, many buildings collapsed elsewhere in the building collapse in Fukushima
In Gunma â‘¡: Maebashi, damage and destruction of the city of Kiryu City, Midori is being reviewed
Chiba â‘¢: collapsed buildings in the city of Narita

UPDATE 20:01 UTC :
210000 people have been evacuated.

Here is the evacuation status for the region from FDMA Situation Report :
Hokkaido: 21 municipalities targeted 16,995 families displaced 34,874 people directions 15 municipalities targeted 19,515 families evacuate 47,569 people.
The number of people evacuated = 6,810

Aomori: open shelters in 27 municipalities (as of 13:00 in the 13,850 evacuated 12 people) Iwate: 506 names in the evacuation
Ichinoseki High Town Ootsuti Ootsuti (500)
Ootsuti Elementary School (150)
kindergarten and Midori (3 0 person) for evacuation
Miyagi: Nakano Elementary School District 250,
Sendai Miyagino during the evacuation of 300 elementary school district
Arahama Wakabayashi : The Sanriku Minami Kesennuma Beisaidoarina = 1,000, 500 in Shidugawa high school, 2,000 = elementary school Shidugawa, 50 high schools in the evacuation Kesennuma Hiroshi Mukai : Minato Junior High School 40 in the evacuation Ishinomaki Ishinomaki Fukushima: About 2,250 people evacuated due to a car Futabachō poor road conditions are difficult : About 4,000 people are open to evacuate the town
Ookuma sequentially induced by 27 police cars and large buses

Fukushima: The current situation at the 16th Evacuation 12 → 131,665 people (7,243 people in Futabachō town and in Ookuma 11,363 other people)

Ibaraki Prefecture: about 77,300 people in 40 municipalities (594 shelter locations)
06 8 municipalities evacuation instructions, evacuation eight municipalities Tochigi Prefecture, Japan: Utsunomiya 157

Chiba Area: 36,367
Goi, Ichihara 16:45 85,024 households to evacuate people – 593 municipalities in 48 shelter sites in the prefecture and therefore 47,270 people evacuated
Niigata: Niigata City, 16 people who self-evacuated, 24 people Mitsuke City
Shizuoka: Fuji City evacuation instruction All cities and towns of coastal evacuation (other than Yoshida.) 12 → ~ 50 minutes at the 13th evacuation evacuation directive clear all being released all the municipalities Mie Prefecture: evacuation instruction in five cities and towns, cities and towns in the evacuation order issued five ( evacuees at the peak of 2,247 people)

UPDATE 19:01 UTC : The town of Minamisanriku in Miyagi prefecture has piles of debris. It’s estimated that half of the town’s population is missing, some 9,500 people !

UPDATE 18:50 UTC : The death toll from the earthquake / tsunami has reached 1000+

UPDATE 18:47 UTC : The Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 Nuclear power plant security measures have been enlarged. Evacuation has been ordered for a radius of 2O km. 3 people have been radiated.

M 6.4  2011/03/12 13:15     Depth 37.5 km  NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
10:15:41 PM at epicenter
Aftershock in the greater mainshock area but this time much closer to the coast.
This earthquake can, although at a less dangerous depth, make a lot of damage in nearby villages which were already hit by the massive 8.9 earthquake
35 km (21 miles) NE of Iwaki, Honshu, Japan and 73 km (45 miles) ESE of Koriyama, Honshu, Japan
Satellite map of the epicenter area

UPDATE 8:45 UTC :
IN SUMMARY
¢ An explosion has occurred at the No. 1 reactor – unknown damage.
¢ With the latest earthquake data, the death toll has risen to 680 people confirmed killed, 734 missing, and 1047 injured – differing slightly from the Police statistics below.
¢ Around 50,000 rescuers have deployed to north-eastern Japan
¢ Many survivors have been trapped overnight on rooftops and in emergency shelters
¢ 69000 people located in Disneyland
¢ According to FDMA, at least 3000 buildings completely destroyed, with many more expected as counting continues. (However, from media reports over 6000 alone have already been counted from 4 cities).
¢ Tsunami warnings for most of Japan have been lowered, although there is still a risk of large waves along the north-eastern coast
¢ Fears for triggered earthquakes across the Japanese region continue from seismologists (including us) – with an earthquake of this magnitude it is very difficult to rule out the possible triggering of a major Tokyo earthquake etc, as the stress shifts along the various fault systems.
¢ With the nuclear situation, workers have successfully vented gas from the reactor, reducing pressure
¢ Japanese media report that prime minister Naoto Kan has not ruled out a possible radiation leak from the No. 2 reactor. (Japanese media said officials had detected caesium, one of the elements released when overheating causes core damage, around the reactor at Fukushima No 1
plant in Futuba) – people should stay calm, the Japanese are the best in the world for earthquake safety along with the NZers.

UPDATE 8:40 UTC :
Footage on Japanese television showed smoke from the plant.
According to NHK, the plant’s exterior walls are gone and only the skeleton structure remains. The broadcaster says several workers were injured by falling debris.
Local media also reports that radioactivity at the plant is now 20 times the normal level.

UPDATE 8:37 UTC :
According to the office Hukuzima TEPCO has Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant explosion in, is that white smoke rising.
Toukyoudenryoku and Nuclear Safety Agency is now find out in more detail, the cause of the explosion, and whether anyone is injured is not yet known.

UPDATE 8:35 UTC :
Going around the cities:-
Rikuzentakata city is buried in the mud from a torrent of tsunami and has destroyed 2000-3000 homes.
Also, Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture, in the south of the state – about 1800 destroyed homes and in Fukushima Prefecture has more than 500 people are still missing.

UPDATE 8:31 UTC :
Along national highway 45, there are reports of 5 collapsed bridges.

UPDATE 8:27 UTC :
Answering whether Chernobyl is possible from this nuclear plant problem – answer is really no.
“No Chernobyl is possible at a light water reactor. Loss of coolant means a temperature rise, but it also will stop the reaction,” Naoto Sekimura, a professor at the University of Tokyo, said.

UPDATE 8:23 UTC :
Good news! For all the friends and family of Bruce Cheng.
STATUS OF Bruce Cheng : SAFE
This message has been automatically generated by QuakeSOS, the iPhone Earthquake Alert System.
Status of the earthquake : CONFIRMED by USGS
Bruce Cheng wants to inform you that he/she is SAFE and that you do not have to worry about him/her.

By using the QuakeSOS iPod app, we will attempt to make sure that people know you are ok or not ok, given an earthquake, and given that cell phone range is still available.
We still have 1 QuakeSOS user missing. Mr. Cesar Oshiro (see link to his GPS coordinates below) did send a HELP ME signal, but has nor reacted yet on our multiple requests to give a sign of life.
If you know Mr. Cesar Oshiro and you know that he is safe and well, can you please send us this news immediately.
Thanks : Armand, James and all the QuakeSOS iPhone application users

UPDATE 8:17 UTC :
Nuclear power plant Fukushima Daiichi Tokyo Electric in Fukushima prefecture, near the No. 1 site, which occurs with uranium cell fission (nuclear fission), “Cs” or “iodine” that was detected as the radioactive material. It is now thought that at between 2700 and 2800 degrees Celsius, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency of the Ministry of Industry are expecting the contents to melt out in the core part of the nuclear fuel rods in the No. 1 plant”, it announced.
What exactly this means, we will have to wait and see….
Experts said if that is the case, it means the reactor is heating up. If that is not halted, such as by venting steam which releases small amounts of radiation, there is a chance it would result in a rupture of the reactor pressure vessel. This would then caused increased radiation.
There is an exclusion zone of 10km from which 45000 people have been evacuated. However, there is no need for concern say officials.
The risk of contamination can be minimised as long as the external container structure is intact. The worry then becomes whether the quake has weakened the structure sufficiently to make a rupture point.

UPDATE 8:15 UTC :
Some updated power outage information.
6.401 million households without power – absolutely amazing numbers.
6.878 million households cannot use their fixed line telephones.

UPDATE 8:11 UTC : TBS has a much more macabre outlook on the earthquake. With the latest earthquake data, the death toll has risen to 680 people confirmed killed, 734 missing, and 1047 injured – differing slightly from the Police statistics below.

UPDATE 8:03 UTC :
As is always the case with death tolls in earthquakes, it is very difficult to gauge the final value. Usually the value at the end of the first day and multiplying by 3 is a very crude final estimate which works in about 50% of cases.
The National Police Agency said 413 people had been confirmed dead and 784 missing, with 1,128 injured in the massive quake and tsunami disaster.
Thus we can assume that 1200-1300 may have been killed. Separate reports of 1000, 400, 500 have also been given.
Police in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, separately said yesterday that at least 200 and up to 300 bodies had been found on the shore.

UPDATE 8:00 UTC :
To explain why the economic and social losses are so big from this earthquake:-

Just to put it in perspective – the Japanese population on Honshu is approximately 105 million people.
- After the earthquake – 8.4 million households were without power. Authorities have now warned citizens in northern Japan to be prepared for severe power cuts due to the shut down of nuclear plants, which provide about 30% of the country’s electricity. This will affect 37-38 million people.
- More than 1.1 million households (4 million people) are without water.
- Phone voice services are also down across much of the north east, although data services seemed to be working sporadically.
- Japan has a GDP of $5.308 trillion dollars, and approximately 87% of this is located on Honshu and mostly electricity or water based. $4.5 trillion+. On a per day basis this is around $12.5 billion per interrupted day.
- Given an amount of 30% for 1 lost day – this already gives $3.75 billion lost per day that this power is down in a very very crude calculation, not accounting for increased working etc.
- Given that this disaster is gripping the nation, there will be a lack of work over the next week with major economic consequences.

SUMMARY 7:45 UTC :
The death toll from the disaster is expected to exceed 1,300, with most deaths due to drowning. 400 to 500 bodies have been found in Miyagi prefecture according to NHK.
¢ Around 50,000 rescuers have deployed to north-eastern Japan
¢ Many survivors have been trapped overnight on rooftops and in emergency shelters
¢ 69000 people located in Disneyland
¢ According to FDMA, at least 3000 buildings completely destroyed, with many more expected as counting continues.
¢ Tsunami warnings for most of Japan have been lowered, although there is still a risk of large waves along the north-eastern coast
¢ Fears for triggered earthquakes across the Japanese region continue from seismologists (including us) – with an earthquake of this magnitude it is very difficult to rule out the possible triggering of a major Tokyo earthquake etc, as the stress shifts along the various fault systems.
¢ With the nuclear situation, workers have successfully vented gas from the reactor, reducing pressure
¢ Japanese media report that prime minister Naoto Kan has not ruled out a possible radiation leak from the No. 2 reactor. (Japanese media said officials had detected caesium, one of the elements released when overheating causes core damage, around the reactor at Fukushima No 1
plant in Futuba) – people should stay calm, the Japanese are the best in the world for earthquake safety along with the NZers.

UPDATE 7:26 UTC : Since midnight UTC 23 aftershocks above magnitude 5 did hit the area of the mainshock. 3 among them were above magnitude 6. Only the magnitude 6 shocks or greater can eventually generate additional damage. Tsunamis need at least a Magnitude 7 in this area of Japan. They only will have a destructive potential starting from around M 7.5 and if having the same hypocenter depth.

UPDATE 7:19 UTC :
* Hundreds dead, missing; tens of thousands displaced
* Nuclear plants are struggling with radioactive material

UPDATE 6:49 UTC :
M 6.8  2011/03/12 01:47     Depth 24.8 km  OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
11:47:16 AM at epicenter
Extremely strong aftershock at 170 km (105 miles) ENE of Iwaki, Honshu, Japan
This aftershock is nearly as strong as the strongest aftershock yesterday (7.1).
Due to the distance of the epicenter to Honshu, direct damage will not have occurred, but indirect damage on already instable buildings (making them to collapse further) is possible.
Satellite map of the epicenter area

We have to leave you now for a while as James and myself have to sleep a couple of hours.
If you live in Asia or the Americas and feel that you can contribute to this site by filling up our sleeping gaps or by joining us with some other tasks, feel free to let us a message. Contact form in the ‘about’ section.
We do not want to leave our readers without some good Japanese sources though. Here they are :
http://www.fdma.go.jp/bn/2011

http://www.jma.go.jp/en/quake/

A good news site is :
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/

UPDATE 01:20 UTC : Our reader Carole is telling us : I have a friend in Tsukuba , Ibaraki, he reports he and his wife are fine, and his apartment sustained broken glass, cosmetic damage etc. Didn™t speak to the surrounding area. He said power is back, but internet and telephone is spotty. This is as of 15:30 pacific time.

UPDATE 00:46 UTC : Hukushima Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
The Nuclear Disaster Special Measures Law are declared for this power plant which means that :
- residents within a 3 km radius have to be evacuated
- in the range of 3 to 10 km from the power plant people have to seek shelter indoors

UPDATE 00:40 UTC : Since the main M 8.9 aftershock / earthquake, 20 +6 aftershocks have been recorded ! The strongest ones were measured as 7.1, 6.8 and 6.6.

UPDATE 12/03 – 00:06 UTC : QuakeSOS our free iPhone application is silently melting away because of high traffic. SOS Earthquakes, the parent non-profit foundation (also of earthquake-report) is proud that a lot of (mainly expats as the app is not in Japanese) people living in Japan have used our application for what is was meant to. Informing friends and family asap that they are safe or in the need of Help.
We were able by means of PUSH messages to alarm people all over the world and to ask them to immediately evacuate to higher grounds.
We have a number of improvements in the pipeline for this application, but need financing to execute them. If someone wants to make the world a little better, please support us.
Unfortunately 2 people who did send a HELP ME message to their friends and family are still uncertain, but we hope that we can change the HELP ME into a I AM SAFE soon.

UPDATE 23:58 UTC :
In this earthquake, Iwate Prefecture and Miyagi Prefecture, suffered a devastating tsunami in the coastal area of ‹‹Fukushima Prefecture, has been missing a lot of people, the whole picture of the damage is unknown. More bodies found in the city of Sendai and in Wakabayashi-ku, NHK together today at 8:30 am, 234 people are confirmed dead so far in the nine prefectures of the Tohoku and Kanto Mashita. They climb the many missing persons, dead or missing from
this earthquake has exceeded 1,000 people together
.

UPDATE 23:11 UTC :
We have currently 3 HELP ME alarms coming from our QUAKESOS application from Japan. If anyone of our readers know these people, please try to help them by airing the maessage by all means. The GPS coordinates from these persons are shown on the screen.
We hope that these people have pushed the wrong button and hope to clear their situation asap.

Aileen Rebueno  sending his alarm from Nagoya
Aileen seem to be OK as she send a test message a shortwile ago

Cesar Oshiro  sending his alarm from Chikusei
Still no news

Bruce Cheng sending his alarm from Chiyoda

Still no news

UPDATE 22:23 UTC : Many of our sources which are also used by Japanse citizens are almost unreachable due to too heavy demand. Not only Earthquake-Report seem to have this problem.

UPDATE 22:08 UTC: We have reached at this moment 100,000 pageviews (today alone). These pages have been viewed by 42,000 people (we do write alot of information on 1 page).  James and myself are making a CALL to insurance companies, authorities, universities and individual seismologists to JOIN Earthquake-Report to inform the world even better than today. We assume some people who can afford it can make a small donation to transfer to a quicker server :)) – Thanks in advance.

UPDATE 21:38 UTC: We would like to show our readers the seismographs of todays earthquake in Japan. We are using a worldwide seismograph network to show to our readers the graphics of a particular seismograph nearest to the epicenter.
Due to the many very strong aftershocks (often more than 6) all seismographs worldwide are coloring completely BLACK !

Click here to see this seismograph page

UPDATE 21:38 UTC: The TEPCO Unit 1 of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Fukushima Prefecture has a big problem and is overviewing different measures to cope with it. We will bring you more news when we obtain it.
These nuclear power stations have been designed to resist to massive earthquakes, but today’s earthquake is beyond all thinkable magnitudes.
The discussion about the safety of Nuclear Power stations in earthquake sensitive areas will be certainly reopened again.

UPDATE 21:36 UTC: WE DO APOLOGIZE TO OUR READERS FOR THE SLOW to VERY SLOW RESPONSE OF THE SERVER. We have 15 times more visitors today than during the Christchurch earthquake. The server can’t cope with this and we have a lot of problems to edit pages on our own server. Based on this experience we will try to solve this problem for future events. Once again our apologies.

UPDATE 21:22 UTC: Iwate, Miyagi  and Fukushima Prefectures did suffer the devastating tsunami at full force. A  lot of people are missing.
The whole picture of the damage is still unknown.
According to police, there are more than 700 missing persons. Together with the confirmed fatalities, the cruel death toll of this earthquake will be over 1,000 (very conservative estimate).

UPDATE 21:13 UTC: A number of our Japanese news sources which are publishing out of the heavy damaged areas are off line  since the mainshock.

UPDATE 18:15 UTC: Most news and fatality numbers are coming from the city of Sendai, but when the reports will be coming in from the small fisherman villages along the same coast the death toll will considerably climb. A similar 8.4 earthquake earlier this century killed in comparable conditions 3,034 people.

Comments

  1. nia says:

    if anyone knows about ibaraki prefecture, takahagi city…
    how is the situation there?
    i have a family there.. but i can’t contact him for 5 days since tsunami.
    please… give me any info..

    • Hi, Nia,
      In Takahagi city, there is only 1 building collapsed.
      1 dead and 19 injured.
      At the moment there is intermittent phone and other info, so I hope that you connect through soon.
      Cheers,
      James.

  2. Laurie Reemsnyder says:

    Does anyone know about the area of Tsukuba, Ibaraki? My very kind friend Yoshiyuki Abe lives and works there and I am so worried about him and his family. I’m guessing there is no power so he can’t communicate, but am feeling so worried.
    Thank you. Our heart goes out to everyone in this terrible situation.

    • Hi Laurie,
      I can report to you the good news that Tsukuba City in Ibaraki prefecture has only 4 major injuries and 10 minor injuries, but no deaths recorded as yet!
      So I hope your friend is ok.
      7 houses have been partially destroyed and 1767 houses partially damaged.
      All the best,
      James.

  3. uli stecher says:

    does anyone know, how is the situation in osaki, furukawa? we have our family there, but cant reach them.
    the names are mutsko and takeshi itahashi. if anyone has any info, please e-mail info@islakite.com

  4. Fran Moon says:

    has anyone heard about the conditions in Kawasaki-machi outside of Sendai? My daughter is an ALT there and I haven’t heard from her since right after the earthquake. Land lines, cell phone, and internet connections appear to be out. If anyone knows anything, it would be appreciated.

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